“I can’t cook” – The sign of a new luxury/status symbol?

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August 19, 2013 by updatedhomemaker

I am amazed when I watch HGTV shows where there are Americans (usually) declaring that they simply “cannot cook”. It is declared as a bragging point with no shame. Often these same non-cooks MUST have the fancy gourmet kitchens. Sometimes it is with the idea that their hired chef for dinner parties will utilize it. More often, it is just for show. I don’t get it.

If you’ve even just lived to adulthood – 18 years old – on this planet, you must have had some observation of cooking taking place. Are these people really that unobservant that they could not gather some useful information in their 18 years? Do they know how to read directions? There are these crazy books called cookbooks that have directions called “recipes” that will guide a person through the cooking process. Now if you don’t want to clutter up your empty gourmet kitchen cabinets with cookbooks, you could also explore the many internet sites that also have a variety of recipes. (The cupboards would have to be empty if they don’t intend to cook right?)!

I have my suspicions that some of these people really do know how to cook. I’m not talking gourmet meals with exotic ingredients every night. I’m talking the basics (boil water, make pasta, cook an egg, make a salad, make a boxed rice with directions on the side). After all, people do usually eat on a daily basis. I also suspect that claiming that you “cannot cook” is the new bragging point of the wannabe elite. The status symbol is the fancy house with the gourmet kitchen. The luxury is being able to afford a personal chef or every meal out. It is an image suckled on by a generation looking up to the entitled and spoiled children that are somehow “stars” on “reality” TV.

OK, I should get it. There are people who will not value what I value in this world. I will disagree with them vehemently regarding what is important in life. In my world, people never doing a productive thing around their home should not be something to boast about. I find it disgraceful. I don’t find it good TV. I wonder if they know the satisfaction of getting a task done well. I also wonder if the people admiring these shows also expect this to be their reality once they step out of their homes. I fear that if they have not had any expectations in their parent’s home, then they will assume this “do nothing” expectation will continue. (See my post on family dynamics.)

We’ve seen it before. The previous generation’s luxury service, a cleaning service, is now more commonplace among the middle class. Next up, the personal chef – the new luxury service.

The bottom line, is that all of this is expensive and unless you can afford it, you won’t be able to afford much else. Think of the cost of the checklist:

  • cleaning service (of course this is now standard fare for people that wouldn’t think of cooking)
  • nice house with gourmet kitchen
  • all meals prepared for you or eaten out

I say “no thanks” to this new trend. If cooking is in your I could never do that vocabulary, then it will be a harsh wake up call if a time comes when good food can no longer be afforded. (Or even wonder why they haven’t saved a dime.) Meanwhile, maybe I should start a personal chef business?! I’m sure there are a few realtors that know some aspiring non-cooking clients.

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